I used to think that the inclusion of Xenoblade characters in the next Smash Bros. titles would be just too good to become true, given the game’s obscurity in comparison to the other big Nintendo franchises. But once again in their recent winning streak of fan-pleasing surprises, Nintendo has made another amazing announcement: Xenoblade protagonist Shulk is officially playable in Super Smash Bros.!
As ever, the latest character reveal trailer is an exciting watch. Using the power of the Monado (that sleek red sword you see our latest challenger wielding), Shulk foresees an incoming assault from Link and Marth using a vision of the near future, giving him the upper hand.
In the gameplay footage that follows the cinematic, we see that this foresight ability can actually be used in combat. It looks it will act as a strong counter move, as well as the theme of his awesome Final Smash. Shulk’s Monado also gives him boosts to his boosts to his jumps and speed, as well as a shield and a various array of punishing melee attacks.
Gaur Plain, that beautiful green landscape from Xenoblade, is now a stage in both the Wii U and 3DS versions. It looks like it has a full day/night cycle, and has an incredible view of the Mechonis in the background.
Artwork and screenshots
The eye candy doesn’t stop there, my friends. First up, the official Super Smash Bros. website was updated with new artwork and screenshots. Here some of the highlights, but you can catch the full gallery here.
This is a beautiful illustration from Monolith Soft, the developer of Xenoblade.
Hey, it’s Link’s palette swap: Dark Link! That Monado sure would’ve been handy in the Water Temple.
That’s Dunban on the left, Shulk’s mentor. He’s a part of Shulk’s Final Smash.
Here’s Shulk’s alternate costume. In Xenoblade, this is how he looks when all armour is unequipped.
3DS screenshots reveal that Gaur Plain appear on both versions of the game. Also, more on that fellow on the right in just a moment!
More details and Miiverse screenshots
Series director Masahiro Sakurai also provided some screenshots and additional insight into the new character and stage on his Miiverse profile.
In the first post, he says that Shulk was “not the type of character that would usually appear in the Smash Bros. series, but we worked really hard to make it happen. We’re very happy with how he turned out.” We’re very grateful for your efforts, sir!
He continues, talking about Shulk’s Monado weapon. It “slashes enemies with a beam when activated, so it can strike from long range. What really makes this weapon unique is that when the Monado Arts are activated, it can change Shulk’s features and abilities! Emerge victorious in battle by changing your abilities strategically!!”
The Monado Arts, you say? Sakurai lists them all in a follow-up comment:
“翔 (Jump): higher jumps, lower defense.
疾 (Speed): faster movement, weaker attacks.
盾(Shield): higher defense, slower movement.
斬(Buster): stronger attacks, weaker launch ability.
撃(Smash): Stronger launch ability, weaker attacks, lower defense against launching.”
Finally, Sakurai talks about a new Assist Trophy, and it’s another familiar face from the acclaimed Wii RPG. “The legendary hero Riki appears as an Assist Trophy and in Shulk’s Final Smash!! As an Assist Trophy, he uses many arts like Happy Happy, Freezinate, and Yoink!”
He sneaks in a little bonus tidbit for Zelda fans, too. “He sounds a bit like Tingle…but don’t worry, Tingle will make an appearance too.”
He ends with a small detail on a general gameplay mechanic regarding Assist Trophies. “By the way, a cursor will appear above Assist Trophies and Pokémon to indicate which fighter is its ally. Now you can tell right off the bat who it belongs to!!”
Personally, I don’t know how much hype I can contain until Super Smash Bros. for 3DS‘ release next month. If you didn’t play the original Xenoblade — and you really should — you may be interested in the upcoming New 3DS port, which will be one of the first titles to utilise the full power of the new system. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go fire up the game’s sweet soundtrack in anticipation.